What it means to be Canadian has often been demonstrated through people’s attachment to wildlife and wilderness. This is most evident in the iconic role that wildlife plays in Canadian currency, the popularity of wildlife art, and the billions of dollars that are spent annually on wildlife-related activities in Canada.
Did you know?
This connection to wildlife was introduced to many Canadians through the popular Hinterland Who’s Who television announcements, or vignettes. First created in the early 1960s, Hinterland Who’s Who made bold use of a relatively new medium — black and white television — to reach the Canadian general public. The vignettes, produced by the Canadian Wildlife Service, brought native wildlife into living rooms using excellent film footage and simple narration. They became, and remain, an enduring part of Canadian culture.
Behind the vignettes lay a series of printed Hinterland Who’s Who fact sheets that provided in-depth descriptions of a variety of wildlife species. The television spots encouraged viewers to contact CWS to obtain these fact sheets . . . and people did write to CWS, at a rate of hundreds a week. Many of those who wrote were children, and many were inspired by the vignettes and the fact sheets to work for wildlife, as adults.
The new Hinterland Who’s Who series with its accompanying Web site will rebuild the connection thousands of Canadians made with wildlife through the original series.
Increasingly, we not only want to learn about nature, we also want to understand how each of us can play a part in preserving it. The Canadian Wildlife Federation, one of Canada’s largest nonprofit, nongovernmental conservation organizations, plays a lead role in showing Canadians how to take action and make a difference.
Together, the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Federation are bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the rejuvenated Hinterland Who’s Who and to the Canadian public.
The new Who’s Who will serve to ensure that wildlife remains part of what it means to be Canadian.